THE FROG AND THE NIGHTINGALE – VIKRAM SETH (Adapted Play)

Adapted Play from THE FROG AND THE NIGHTINGALE by Vikram Seth

THE FROG AND THE NIGHTINGALE

THE FROG AND THE NIGHTINGALE

Narrator: This is a story, of a frog so sly;
he could trick all his poor supper flies
and how his voice he thought to be prodigious;
was to others sore and outrageous.

Frog: RIBBIT RIBBIT RIBBIT RIBBIT RIIIIIBBBBIIITTTTT!!
This sumac tree and all abode; My song is ready Are the branches bowed?
For all who sit on it and hear; my songs of gold will surely cheer!

Crow: Oh! What a pain! He sings Worse than me! How? OH! How can that ever be?

Swan: Oh dear this creature, so gross and gruesome, i really hope those warts are’nt contagious!

Cricket: Wow I never believed it true; but mr.ugly cannot SING too! Hahaha!

Narrator: But the frog so wrapped in himself; did not spare a thought for the shouts and yelps

Frog: Say what you want I am the best; I will never be put to rest!
My splendid voice is at its best; Gather around, lets put it to test!

(All animals run for cover just as the frog starts singing)

Frog: KooOOAHH KooASH KOOash!

***

Night Scene-A beatiful nightingale flies to the sumac tree.

Narrator:That night to the bog's wonder and joy;
they saw to the sumac a nightingale fly.
They all knew her as a singer,
for long ago another one had sung here.
And ofcourse they were not let down,
they'd never heard a sweeter sound!

Nightingale: “Sings Beautifully”

Deer: Oh so sweet is that melody, it really makes me a little melancholy!

Cricket: Better! Better than that toad, Oh my god! He was such a bore!

Swan: Bravo! Lovely! Please once more!
We want-We want an encore!
That voice of yours filled me with awe,
better than anthing out of that froggy maw!

Deer: Yes OH yes! Once more we want ;to hear that beautiful chant!

Nightingale: *Flustered* Oh dear oh me..What a pleasure.
I would Love to sing hither!
But oh me oh my dear….
that praise really mattered..
I am so deeply flattered!

***

(Sometime later) At dawn, cracks of light. Nightingale is settling to go to sleep

Frog (to himself): Ah I see this stupid Ave
Made a mistake grave;
Came to my tree and stole my stage
Now she’ll have to suffer my rage!
But with subtle plans I can
From the bog this birdie, ban!

Frog(to nightingale): Ah pretty bird! What have we here? A singer beyond compare?
Come dear bird come to my tree, there in peace I’ll talk to Thee.
Yes , my dear, yes, I did hear, your songs you sung with skill no fear,
But I saw and felt you lack; a certain force, a certain knack.
I do feel you need some training, from a real artist, no feigning,

Nightingale: Oh skilled frog I feel so faint; do you know some famous name?
I would love to train my voice, and I know you have a point.
I do lack in force and vigour; I have a wish of audience bigger!

Frog: I of course may accept; this job so crucial for your success.
You cannot expect of me ; Though not to charge some fee
For making a singer requires toil; so my plans for you dont foil.

Nightingale: Dear frog am I right to hear; you are a singer? Oh Dear!
This is a coincidence so good to be true, teach me please, will you?

Frog: Yes indeed I think I shall, We will start with a chorale.
Starting tomorrow early morn, we will practice on and on.
Sing with patience sing with ardor; never give up never falter!

Nightingale: Yes yes indeed I will ! When we end please send the bill.

Narrator: So from next day the ave and frog; Sang away in bingle bog.
All the animal and birds thought about the poor bird;
Who though blessed with skill and throat, wasn't given a confident note.
But that night the nightingale;
sang again with might and zeal and again the frog discouraged ;
her talent when she was finished.

***

Then one day...(Torrential downpour, cold and wet the nightingale looks miserable)

Frog: Ah, Look what glorious weather ;Come to the top, we will sing hither.

Nightingale(shivering): Oh dear frog how can our throats;
sustain in this harsh downpour?
I for one cannot sing;
in this distracting din!

Frog:*With rage*Stupid bird are you in earnest? Is my suffering all just a waste?
For with your brainless banter, who in the world will be your master?

Nightingale: Mr.Frog, forgive my folly, I really am very sorry.
I consent to follow direction, I really will take action.

***

Narrator: So the stupid bird once more; sang in rain till she was sore.
Gladly though after some rest; she was again at her best.
That night too the bog filled with creatures; they came with families to see the feature!

Frog: nightingale you really must, pay attention and trust ;
my advice and discretion, you must pay heed to my beckon.
And dear bird high notes are nice, only normal tones do not suffice!
What I say you must heed, my advice you need, to succed.

Narrator: Day and night she sang and sang
Her days were filled with breathless pangs,
The stands were filled with famous crowds
Who, for her songs cheered aloud.

Owl of sandwich: What a sweet voice I hear
it is soothing to the ear!

Coot of monte cristo:Lovely lovely is this tune
Really her voice is her boon.

Frog(to himself): How poor is their taste
In music they dont have a base.
Or of course they would find
this idiot’s shrill voice too high.

Frog(to nighingale): dear oh dear just hear you cry
why cant you sing? Oh! Why?
Money nowdays is hard to get
you owe me lots of money for the rest

Nightingale: I sing all day I sing all night
Still have’nt I filled you pocket light?
Look hard mr. Frog look hard.
I think you have a hole to be barred.

Frog: I think I know what is to be done
you and me have just begun!
Take a deep breath, make it big
and for god’s sake, Sing well you fig!

Nightingale: yes yes sir, I will- I will try
Please don’t scold, I feel I will cry.
I will take a long passionate gasp
I really hope I dont rasp.

Narrator: and that my friends was her end
She took a breath too long too deep
Conveyed her to eternal sleep
For too hard! Too hard she tried
Burst a vein, An then died.
And then the wicked evil frog
Lone again in bingle bog
sang from dusk until dawn
his foghorn blared on and on!

__END__

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One thought on “THE FROG AND THE NIGHTINGALE – VIKRAM SETH (Adapted Play)

  1. Dear Mr.Vikram Seth,

    The party by the frog and the nightingale was really very nice. In this world always the wicked ones win. In the jungle also the rule rules, I think. Well written! You have proved that you are an established writer par excellence.Good imagination, simple yet powerful words.

    ravi.

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